I’ve Tested 9 Fair & Sustainable Espresso Beans

Why I’m testing Espresso Beans

One of my daily joys is drinking a cup of espresso. I love the smell of the espresso beans, grinding them, and then seeing the coffee pour into my cup.

It brings me immense pleasure. I usually drink one first thing in the morning, one later for breakfast, and one or two in the afternoon.

Last year I switched from a moka pot to an espresso machine for convenience and also because it’s fun and quicker, though I still love both.

But I’ve been drinking the same brand for years and it’s not necessarily one of the most sustainable and fair brands and so I decided it’s time to switch!

And lucky for me, almost all the roasteries and sellers I picked and contacted got back to me and sent me some of their wonderful espresso beans to try.

I’m very grateful and humbled by their openness, and I have a feeling that people who put their love and effort into making and selling fair and sustainable coffee are also really lovely people.

I’ve tried Happy Coffee (great name!), Urwaldkaffee (supports indigneous group), Kaffeerösterei Kochergold (female-run), Bonner Kaffeebrennerei (great design), Moyee Coffe (working for more global equality), 19grams (great design as well), Schön Kaffee (also nice design and family business), Rainbow Coffee (great sustainability approach), and Angelique’s Finest (full female produced).

You can find all of these brands and some more in the HEALTH section of the Sustainable Business Directory as well.
I’ve not been paid for this, but I’ve received free espresso beans to test from these companies, which I picked for the reasons mentioned above.

Coffee Beans – Espresso Beans – what’s the difference?

My first interaction with coffee beans was when I was nine or ten years old when, as I grew up in Hamburg, a city with a big industrial port, we took a school trip to look at what is stored and traded in the big storages houses at the port.

I remember big halls and feeling and smelling the coffee beans in my hands and learning that they have to get roasted before we turn them into a drink.

Somehow I was hooked and this pleasurable moment full of wonder and joy stayed with me.

While the beans for Coffee and Espresso are the same, what is different is the roast, how finely you grind the coffee and how you prepare it.

Darker roasts are better for espresso and lighter roasts better for filtered coffee.

To brew a nice cup of espresso, it’s also important that the beans are finely ground so that you can get the full taste, whereas you would want to grind them more coarsely for a filtered coffee. All of the companies I’ve tested sell espresso and coffee, though, so you can order per your preference.

Why I’ve chosen these companies

I’ve mentioned in the brackets above what first caught my attention about each of these coffee sellers & roasters.

I’ve founded the sustainable business directory for two reasons: to allow for all of us to have pleasurable experiences which are also a great choice when it comes to protecting our planet and creating a world in which people and animals are treated, fairly, lovingly, respectfully.

So, the first thing I was looking for were coffee brands which use sustainable and fair production methods.

This means fair pay, no-middle men, often intimate relationships with the farmers and supporting the whole environment in which the coffee is sourced and produced.

As you can see below, there are some different approaches and ideas about how this can be done.

To make it easier for you to decide which brand to support, I highlighted one thing that makes each of these brands unique.

Then there is always the attempt and hope to support women-run business with the Sustainable Business Directory.

And with every new topic, I approach, I see the necessity of that as well, because we’re still quite a few steps away from equality here.

Kochergold was the only female-run coffee roastery I could find. Angelique’s finest is the only coffee that is produced and designed entirely by women.

This is a great start, but I’d love to add more female-run businesses in this sector in the future.

If you know of any, please let me know using the contact form or by applying directly through the Sustainable Business Directory.

Angelique’s Finest

Angelique’s Finest is a very special coffee because it is the only one in this list completely produced by women.

Did you know there is an International Women’s Coffee Alliance?

A large part of the work in the coffee production process is done by women, first and foremost the physically demanding work at the beginning of the value chain.

But women are underrepresented in the official structures, which means that they earn much less than men. It’s time to change that!

Angelique’s Finest, a “coffee made entirely by women”, is strengthening the financial independence and decision-making power of women in the coffee sector.

Angelique’s Finest is an aromatic speciality coffee from the volcanic mountains of Rwanda, an entirely produced by women.

The income gives women and their families financial independence and greater participation.

The Arabica highland coffee is characterized by a gentle sweetness, a hint of chocolate and a delicate berry note. Available as aroma coffee and espresso, as whole beans or ground.

I love it! And you can try and buy it here: KAFFEE KOOPERATIVE.

⭐️ My impressions: coming soon!

✔️ produced by women

Café Kogi

This is another very special coffee!

Café Kogi was born out of a partnership of like-minded people who wanted to do something for the preservation of the earth.

The aim is to introduce the way the Kogi live, in the mountains in Columbia, in harmony with nature, to people in Germany and Europe and to learn from it.

The Kogi don’t want us to condemn our civilization and go back to the woods or mountains and live like them, but to continue our way of life, integrating the ancient wisdom of how to preserve our earth.

The way this coffee is produced by them and sold here, for us to enjoy, embodies that.

The proceeds of the coffee they sell allow them to buy back their ancestral lands, their holy sites.

In addition to the fair purchase price for the coffee, 20% of the profit of URWALDKAFFEE GmbH goes to Kogi.

In the long term, a closer partnership is planned for other European countries. Perhaps the Kogi will then also be shareholders with all the rights and obligations.

For now, you can try the espresso beans made from the finest Arabica highland coffee from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia and experience the chocolate-nutty-creamy taste with a light fruit note.

This is really wonderful. And you can try and buy it here: URWALDKAFFEE.

⭐️ My impressions: Kogi coffee has a very fine, distinguished taste. A bit of marzipan and dark chocolate. Somehow the most elegant one I’ve tested (so far).

✔️ supports an indigenous community to buy back their ancestral lands and holy sites

Happy Coffee

Happy Coffee was founded by a couple from Hamburg, who followed their passion for great coffee and fair and sustainable production and made it their mission to show coffee lovers that there is a world beyond supermarket coffee, where freshness, quality and social responsibility make a difference.

They make fairly traded, high-quality coffee – or happy coffee, for happy people!

They only sell their coffee online and, working together with a small roastery, roast their coffee daily so that it always freshly roasted when it arrives at your home.

Happy Coffee offers a wide range of different coffee beans so that you will find what you are looking for – regardless of whether you are an espresso drinker, a filter coffee fan, prefer coffee from a fully automatic machine or have special taste preferences.

Their coffee beans come from growing countries such as Mexico, Ethiopia and Peru. And all of them are from farms or cooperatives who, thanks to close trade relationships, are paid fairly, and Happy Coffee’s master roasters are often on-site and support specific projects.

All cooperatives that they work with are dedicated to organic cultivation.

I really love the name, it does make me very happy and you can try their wide variety of coffee beans here: Happy Coffee.

⭐️ My impressions: This coffee has a very light and nutty taste, a little bit sour, but very pleasant. It was one of the first ones to arrive and it’s a taste I’ve never experienced before. I really like it, especially in the afternoon.

✔️ roast your coffee daily, so that it’s as fresh as it can be

Rainbow Coffee

Rainbow Coffee was founded to set new standards for sustainable coffee cultivation, harvesting, processing, refining (roasting) and trading.

Their goal is to bring you the most sustainable, equitable and best coffees in the world.

They work on an equal footing with their colleagues in Ethiopia and Guatemala and jointly promote education, awareness-raising and infrastructure.

€ 1 of each coffee package they sell goes to support social projects in the regions from which they buy their coffee.

The company was founded by a group of agricultural engineers, environmental engineers, innovators and forward thinkers who do everything we can to make the cultivation and trade of coffee sustainable and fair.

To achieve their goals, they encourage and train the farmers and harvest workers in the coffee harvest and processing (quality and farm management) and thus guarantee the quality-oriented process of the entire value chain.

They support families and villages to operate independently of international price pressure and price fluctuations in the coffee trade (buying out the entire harvest) and create (for the first time) a real sustainable foundation that bears fruit for everyone – from harvest workers to connoisseurs!

They only offer truly honest coffee and practice the most environmentally sustainable method by growing the coffee in the forests, with a 100% feel-good factor for nature and our plants.

You can buy their coffees here: RAINBOW COFFEE

⭐️ My impressions: This one tastes very grounding somehow. Dark, soothing, comforting. Earthy. A taste that makes me feel very good and at home somehow.

✔️ sustainably grown and guaranteed income for farmers

Moyee Coffee

Moyee Coffee has made it their mission to combine radical quality with radical impact.

For that, they decided to roast the coffee in the country of origin, so that more of the money earned will stay in the country, which in turn makes the people less dependent on development aid.

They also pay the farmer 20% above market price, and invest €1.50 per kilo in programmes that lead to a living income.

They do this because they saw that poverty leads to deforestation and by doing their share to combat poverty, and making sure their coffee production protects forests and works towards reforestation – they want to reverse this trend.

At the heart of their FairChain concept is a 50/50 approach that aims to create an equal value split between countries that produce coffee and countries that consume it, instead of a 10/90 split, which is currently common.

On top of that, they support their farmers with extra seedlings, so they can grow more coffee and generate more income and worked on a bio-compost project with 7200 farmers, so they do not need any fertilizers and pesticides anymore.

They are working towards creating a world in which more and more people who will choose a single cup of (speciality) coffee that respects people and the planet over two cups of (poverty) coffee that generates perverse profits for the privileged few while paying no heed to our planet.

They believe that the future is bright for purpose-driven brands, and so do I!

You can get a free taster sample here: MOYEE COFFEE

⭐️ My impressions: coming soon!

✔️ by roasting in the country of origin, more money stays there & supports people locally

Bonner Kaffeebrennerei

This coffee really blew my mind!

Not only do I love the packaging, the card (Drink No Evil) and the names for the coffee (Soft Shock & New Noise) after having tasted most of the other coffees already, I was really taken by surprise by the richness of this taste.

Both of these coffees are incredible and unique, and I do want to taste the other coffees the Bonner Kaffeebrennerei has to offer now as well. This is really something else!

This small but fine artisanal roastery has been a side project of the Bonn Coffee School since 2018.

And like with the other companies I’m introducing here, regular trips to the origin of coffee and a look at the growing conditions there have sharpened their understanding of quality, sustainability and fair prices.

So, they are combining high quality and fairly produced coffee with the fine art of roasting.

The diversity of the beans resulting from climatic conditions, soil conditions and botanical peculiarities of the coffee plants can be worked out through individual roasting profiles and recipes.

This is done in the coffee distillery with a small Giesen roaster using a traditional drum roasting process.

And I believe it when they say that keeping these recipes in line, even across different harvest cycles, is a daily challenge, but they’ve mastered this art, by digitally recording the roasting curves, measuring the colour values, etc. and by using the most important measuring device we all have, our sensory, the taste evaluation.

If you’d like to experience the resulting extraordinary tastes, you can buy your coffee or espresso beans here: BONNER KAFFEEBRENNEREI

⭐️ My impressions: coming soon!

✔️ best taste & names (!) & great love for detail


The Schön coffee roastery made it their mission to always get the best out of every coffee or espresso bean.

They have roasted coffee themselves since 2017 and are located near Bamberg, Germany.

On their website you can see exactly where they are getting their coffee from, using a direct trade approach as well, seeing how much they pay forward and even find the names of the families they are working with.

They offer a wide variety of tastes and beans from light and more nutty and fruity taste to darker roasts.

Depending on the variety, region, cultivation altitude and processing, every coffee contains a wide variety of aromas. Working out and emphasizing these aromas is part of their taste philosophy and it’s still really fascinating to me to taste all the different aromas.

As far as I can tell, their Plantation coffee is the only one from India on this list. So, that adds another bit of variety to the offers here.

I also really like that, on top of using aroma protection packaging, from an eco-line which makes the bags from kraft paper on the outside lined with a barrier film on the inside, to provide aroma protection, they also ship in used boxes whenever possible.

You can order their fantastic coffees here: SCHÖN KAFFEE

⭐️ My impressions: coming soon!

✔️ sustainable packaging, fair production & great coffee and design


Kochergold is the only female-run coffee roastery I could find, so I’m very happy to be able to present Rebecca Schaile and her excellent coffees here as well.

With Kochergold she made it her mission to produce high-quality & transparently sourced coffee.

It is one of Rebecca’s proclaimed goals to educate consumers about the origin, cultivation and living conditions of the coffee farmers.

On her website you can read about the sources of each coffee roast, and as you can see in the picture, she offers a variety of sustainable (bio) coffees.

In addition to sourcing the coffee beans in a fair and ecologically aware way, Kochergold also uses CO²-neutral print and advertising products, electricity from 100% hydropower and Rebecca donates to a climate protection agencies to compensate for the CO² emissions in general.

They also use work clothes in organic quality, upcycle their coffee sacks and also use aluminium free coffee bags for selling their coffee and espresso beans.

One of her newest roasts, the Sumatra Orang Utan Kaffee, supports animal rights activists and local coffee farmers in preserving the habitat of the last free-living orangutans.

You can see and buy all of her offers here: KAFFEERÖSTEREI KOCHERGOLD

⭐️ My impressions: coming soon!

✔️ female-run & focuses on animal protection as well


19 grams is a coffee roastery in Berlin, founded in 2002, before speciality coffee really was a thing in Germany.

Not only does the test box they sent me look super cute, tasting the coffees I can also tell that they know their business.

And when they say that they’ve travelled, talked to people, crawled around in the dirt, planted, harvested and tried to sell coffee from their own coffee farm, getting a little bit better, and understanding a little bit more with each step, it’s no surprise that what their offer is absolutely convincing.

They work with coffee farmers from around the globe.

Because coffee is also a seasonal product and for the best quality, they stick to the harvest cycles.

They offer premium coffee and espresso beans, many of their coffees are named after the farms on which they are produced as their way of putting the spotlight on the producers.

You can also find a lot of information about the farms and producers on their website. They offer easy to recycle packaging, and are the only brand here that offers (eco) capsules as well.

You can check out their huge and beautifully designed variety of coffees here: 19GRAMS

⭐️ My impressions: coming soon!

✔️ best design, great variety of coffee offers & fantastic taste

Conclusion & Recommendation

This was such an amazing, fun and tasty journey. I started off with a passion for good espresso, but to be honest, I had no idea what I was in for.

I’m deeply touched by the care for the environment, for a more equal world, for fair production and better pay each of these companies offer.

It’s so great to see how many people are out there who care and who combine their care and efforts with their business.

All of these nine coffee sellers are doing their part in creating a better world for all of us and that deserves our support.

Taste, however, is highly subjective and that is great as well, because from the variety I got to taste in the past weeks, I’m sure that there is something on this list for everyone.

And I would really love to invite you on a journey to not only buy your next bag of coffee or espresso beans from any of these sellers, but to try a few of them and find your new favourite.

Because as humans, we are meant to explore and there is so much to try here!

Get Your Personal Wheel of Colours

The Wheel of Colours is a traditional tool to help us understand what we need or can share in certain situations.

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